Chicken Champions

We Tried Betty Crocker’s Chicken and Dumplings and Did Not Expect These Results

published Mar 23, 2020
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chicken and dumplings in a dutch oven
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

Betty Crocker makes some of the most popular shortcut products sold in grocery stores; from Bisquick to Hamburger Helper, these products help many home cooks get dinner on the table faster and easier. So when we stumbled across a Betty Crocker recipe for chicken and dumplings using Bisquick mix, we knew we had to try it. We’re big fans of back-of-the-box recipes — Toll House cookies, French’s green bean casserole, Lipton’s classic onion dip, and so on — so we had high hopes that Betty Crocker’s chicken and dumpling recipe would turn out great.

Is Bisquick the secret ingredient to light-as-a-feather chicken and dumplings? And would Betty Crocker’s recipe become our new go-to? I was eager to find out.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Betty Crocker’s Chicken and Dumplings

Betty Crocker’s recipe begins with making homemade chicken stock to use as the base of the chicken and dumplings — a rather laborious process that I was surprised to see in a Betty Crocker recipe! You’ll start by adding an entire cut-up chicken, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and water into a large Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and let cook for two hours. At this point, the recipe instructs you to skim the fat from the top and reserve half a cup of it to use later — which proved impossible: There was very little fat on top of the stock, and I was unable to skim any off, so I skipped this step. Strain the mixture and reserve four cups of the broth.

You’re now instructed to heat the skimmed fat in the now-empty Dutch oven — but because I didn’t have any, I used a stick of unsalted butter. Add half a cup Bisquick mix and cook, stirring often, to create a roux. Add the reserved four cups of stock, bring to a boil, and let simmer for a minute. Add the reserved veggies and chicken and let cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

In a medium bowl, add Bisquick mix and milk and stir to create a dough. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the bubbling sauce and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Lid the pot, cook for 10 more minutes, and it’s done!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Betty Crocker’s Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe was a bit of a disappointment. It took a decent amount of time and effort to make the homemade stock base, and it honestly didn’t taste that good. The whole dish tasted bland and didn’t have much depth — I wanted more spices, more seasoning, and more savoriness. It was as if someone had started to make chicken and dumplings but never added the spices and seasonings.

The dumplings were also rather sad. They had the densest texture out of all of the dumplings I tested, and weren’t very flavorful. Instead of being light and airy like the other recipes, these were more bread-like and very heavy. They seemed to need extra leavener to help them puff up, and relying solely on Bisquick mix wasn’t enough. It was a good shortcut idea in theory, but the results didn’t pan out.

Another strange detail was that the chicken is kept on the bone. The recipe never instructs you to shred it, so I left it on the bone. This made eating the chicken and dumplings a bit difficult, since you have to pick around the bones to eat, and it made the presentation a bit clunky. Overall, this was not my favorite recipe.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Betty Crocker’s Chicken and Dumplings, a Few Tips

1. Use the original Bisquick mix, not a flavored variety. There are a few different Bisquick products on the market, so make sure you use the classic pancake and waffle mix for this recipe.

2. Use butter instead of the “reserved fat.” This recipe has you use half cup of “reserved fat” that you skim off the top of the homemade chicken stock, but my stock didn’t have any fat floating on top. Instead, I used a stick of unsalted butter to prepare the sauce, and it worked just fine.

3. Make sure your sauce is bubbling before adding the biscuits. This ensures that the dumplings will start cooking right away, and you won’t end up with soggy bottoms.

4. Season aggressively with salt and pepper. This dish needs a heavy dose of both salt and pepper to wake it up. Don’t be shy with your seasoning, and feel free to add whatever herbs and spices you want!

Rating: 5/10

Have you ever made Betty Crocker’s chicken and dumplings? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn